Who is blocked by the Chinese firewall?

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    Illustration from article.yeeyan.orgThis

    post is based on TechAsia's article " Oh, Big Brother: you won't believe how many sites are now blocked in China " and personal experience.

    Not so long ago, we talked about what was happening on the Chinese Internet , “who is who”, and constantly had to mention those or other blocked foreign sites. If one way or another you plan to develop a business with the participation of a Chinese audience, then you should keep in mind which social buttons should not be added, and which services will generally make your project inoperative for the Chinese.

    A bit of history

    First Chinese Internet Connection, 1994 Illustration from cctv.com article 

    On April 20, 1994, the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences created the first cable Internet connection from China to North America and Europe. The photo captures the moment of the first Chinese Internet connection.

    A few years later, the Chinese government began work on limiting this new form of communication. Of course, at that time few could afford access, but it was already clear that this was a channel for the distribution and exchange of information that was not controlled at the moment.

    Work on the Golden Shield project (金盾 工程 jīndùn gōngchéng) began in 1998, and at the end of 2003 the famous Great Chinese Firewallstarted his work.

    Over the past ten years, the control system has grown to unprecedented proportions. Access is blocked even to international projects worth hundreds of billions of dollars - Facebook, Google, and so on. Of course, a certain number of Chinese geeks can "climb over the fence" (翻墙 fānqiáng - as the Chinese call the bypass of their firewall). Most of them use foreign resources just for fun, to stay in trend and watch funny videos and pictures with cats. Some need access to the pages that they created before the massive cleanups.
    However, after the recent blocking, Gmail now has to look for an alternative even to mail services.

    In an article on TechAsia, the author writes that, for example, harmless sites such as MySpace, in China they’re not being blocked - they are allegedly not distributing “harmful information”. But it is not so. Using resources like  ce.cloud.360.cn,  you can ping a specific URL and measure speed from each Chinese province. Here's what MySpace accessibility looks like: MySpace accessibility map for the provinces of China Nevertheless, even though Beijing is green, MySpace cannot be opened here. By comparison, this is what Facebook is completely blocked by : Facebook accessibility map in China



    Attentive readers will notice the strange behavior of Taiwan, to which continental Chinese censorship, like Hong Kong and Macau, does not apply. So far, I see the explanation for this only in the fact that the Chinese service adjusts the data to the “party opinion”, according to which Taiwan is just a province of China, and not a sovereign republic.

    Some popular services remain unlocked, such as Vine . But Instagram is blocked selectively: you can install and use it on iOS. The Android version was removed from all Chinese markets (yes, there are many) this summer, but the previously installed application will continue to work. Not from China Mobile’s mobile Internet- for some reason, their Instagram servers are blocked. In any case, everything can change any day - the DuckDuckGo search engine was blocked quite unexpectedly this month.

    UPD: Instagram 2014.09.29 blocked completely.

    So who is blocked?

    The author of the original article went through the first 1000 sites from Alexa through the GreatFire.org port to create a list of blocked resources.

    It is important that the blocking of such large sources of information creates a certain information vacuum in China on certain topics. Therefore, the bulk of the block list is not large entertainment portals, but thousands of small sites that publish information on Tibetan issues, Tiananmen Square events, and the like. They began to be blocked immediately after the launch of the Golden Shield, and long before the first Twitter locks in 2009.

    In addition, some scientific sites and other portals are blocked, one way or another connected with the development of freedom of speech in the country. Of course, locks make life difficult for many educational institutions and interfere with business - there can be no talk of any “cloud office packages” here.

    And the firewall itself is designed in such a way that all the traffic of a multi-million Chinese Internet audience is driven through its server , which catastrophically affects the speed of foreign services in China, even if they are not blocked. Even before Google was completely blocked, its search engine was so slow that it repelled Chinese users from using it. This has become a catalyst for the development of search engines such as Baidu and Sogou .

    So hereList of famous services and sites blocked in China:

    Social networks

    Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Google Hangouts, Google Blogspot, WordPress.com, Line, KakaoTalk, TalkBox, some Tumblr, FC2, Soundcloud, Hootsuite, Adultfriendfinder, Ustream, Twitpic

    Media and information sites

    New York Times, New York Times Chinese, Bloomberg, Bloomberg Businessweek, BBC Chinese, Chosun Chinese, WSJ, WSJ Chinese, Flipboard (international version), Google News, YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, LiveLeak, Break, Crackle, some Wikipedia articles, some articles of Chinese Wikipedia, Wikileaks

    Search engines

    Google, DuckDuckGo, Baidu Japan, Baidu Brazil, Yahoo Hong Kong, Yahoo Taiwan

    Application services

    Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Slideshare, iStockPhoto, Google Drive, Google Docs, Gmail, Google Translate, Google Calendar, Google Groups, Google Keep

    Other online tools

    Flickr, Google Play, Google Picasa, Feedburner, Twitter URL shortener, Google URL shortcut, Bit.ly, Archive.org, Pastebin, Change.org, 4Shared, The Pirate Bay, OpenVPN

    We will not list all Google services, since virtually all of them are now in the ban - both YouTube and even Google Play (because of the latter, the Chinese do not suffer, they have their own application markets in abundance).


    This is just a small part of blocked sites and services. You need to understand that for a mass Chinese audience, making any links and connections with these services is not only useless, but can also harm your project. Any "Facebook widget" will slow down the page loading by a hundred times. We should also highlight such important services as the  Google Fonts API - its blocking affects all sites that use Google fonts: in the best case, the site simply opens very slowly, like my blog , in the worst, it does not work at all.

    The list is far from complete, actively changing and supplementing. When working with China, read the news and keep your finger on the pulse.

    I wish you never to be blacklisted by the Golden Shield!

    Note 1 : of course, this does not include porn sites, the war with which, unlike Facebook, is at the official level quite openly (for finding such sites they used to even pay ordinary citizens). At the same time, sex shops in China are located on every corner, but this is a completely different story.

    Note 2 : I deliberately do not provide links with information on forbidden topics, because I do not want to block Habré in China.

    Note 3: yes, an American article, and here, of course, about freedom of speech. Share your opinion in the comments!

    This article is based on TechAsia’s article “ Oh, Big Brother: you won't believe how many sites are now blocked in China ” and personal experience.

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